I don't remember how old I was -- maybe 5 or 8 -- when I saw the missing man flyby over our small town cemetery. As with most years, my mom and dad took us girls to the Memorial Day service where we'd hear the mayor speak and a pastor pray, watch local veterans carry in the flags and listen to the mournful, slow playing of Taps.
That year, though, four planes started flying our way in a V formation. Right before they reached the cemetery, one plane peeled up and off -- out of the formation -- while the other three continued on, never wavering, until they were out of sight.
The missing man formation did its work. I still remember it to this day: four were flying but only three carried on.
There wasn't a flyby this Memorial Day, but we did take some time to walk through our local veterans cemetery, looking at the headstones and marveling at the lives and work of those who served in our military.
And amidst the wonder and the sadness, there was something else: a reminder that eternity is ours with many of them.
Resting in heaven.
Until we meet in heaven.
And even the mark of someone who belonged to the same church as me -- a fellow member of the LCMS -- and who, even though I never met him, I can't wait to greet one day in heaven.
Boating and beer and hot dogs and yard games are all fine in their place, but they aren't the point of Memorial Day. Today is the day we remember people -- real people with lives and fathers and home and daughters and cars and bills and clothes -- whose lives were given on our behalf.
I are grateful, even as I am humbled. And because of the day of the Resurrection and the faith given to those asleep in Christ, I can't wait to meet them -- and perhaps even thank them -- face to face.